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April 2007, Volume 12, Issue 8


Teaching Mathematics through the Art of Kolam
Syamala Chenulu
The mathematics of kolam, a traditional art form of southern India. Article discusses simple graph theory, Euler paths and circuits, numerical patterns, symmetry, and growing patterns. Includes student work samples and suggestions for organizing data.

Just Five Does It: Using Five Numbers to Make Patterned Squares
Margaret Kenney; Stanley Bezuszka
Creating mathematical art based on number patterns. Article discusses a process that integrates numbers and geometry resulting in attractive patterned squares. Activity may be done with paper and pencil or using computer software. Includes directions for creating patterns using Geometer's Sketchpad.

Irrational Numbers Can In-Spiral You
Leslie Lewis
An instructional process to help students visualize irrational numbers. Article discusses creating a spiral, called The Wheel of Theodorus, to construct and compare irrational and rational lengths. Includes student work to help the reader appreciate the possibilities.

Connecting the Mobiles of Alexander Calder to Linear Equations
David Hedin
Using linear algebra to design mobiles like those created by artist Alexander Calder. Article discusses investigations that develop understanding of the components of a mobile. Includes five investigations with list of supplies and activity sheets leading to creating a mobile.

Guitars, Violins, and Geometric Sequences
Rita Barger, Martha Haehl
Ratios and proportions in the context of musical instruments, and the relationship between measurement, ratios, geometric sequences and finger positions or the placement of frets on stringed musical instruments. Includes suggestions for students creating their own stringed instruments.

Master of Tessellations: M. C. Escher, 1898–1972
Ernest Ranucci
This reprinted Mathematics Teacher article gives a brief history of the mathematics of Escher's art. Article discusses Escher art and how it relates to Islamic art.

Escher in the Classroom
Jill Britton
How teachers can use Escher art in the classroom. Includes project ideas and websites for additional information.